Skip to Content
Litigation. Collaborative Law. Mediation.
WESTCHESTER Property Division ATTORNEYS Our firm is one of the largest matrimonial law firms in New York City that offers all three ways to divorce. Let us help you choose the best option for you and your family.

Westchester Distribution of Assets Lawyers

Assisting couples with property division during divorce in New York

New York is an equitable distribution state when it comes to divorce. This means that marital property and assets are divided in a way that is fair to both sides, which is not necessarily a 50/50 split. When making decisions about which spouse gets which assets, the court considers a variety of factors, including each spouse’s contributions to the marriage; a party’s separate property, income, and earning potential; and more. Equitable distribution of assets, particularly in cases where spouses have high net worth, can be extremely complicated, and requires a financially sophisticated and legally knowledgeable attorney.

The Westchester divorce attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP have decades of experience handling the complex issues involved with property and asset division. Our legal team can work to ensure you secure your fair share of the marital property and hold on to your personal assets. We fight to achieve your goals and get the best results possible. Contact us today.

What is the difference between marital and separate property?

Only marital property and assets are eligible for distribution. Separate property remains with each spouse.

Examples of marital property include:

  • Bank accounts, cash, stocks, retirement accounts or pensions you and your spouse acquired during your marriage
  • Real property purchased or acquired during the marriage, unless one spouse paid for that property with their own separate funds
  • Businesses started during a marriage
  • Property like cars, boats, artwork, furniture, or jewelry that you and your spouse purchased during your marriage

Examples of separate property include:

  • Any compensation awarded for personal injury claims during your marriage
  • Any property defined as separate property in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
  • Personal property (like cars, artwork, or jewelry) that you acquired or purchased before the marriage
  • Property acquired via gift or inheritance (from someone other than your spouse) during your marriage
  • Real property purchased or acquired before the marriage
  • Bank accounts and other cash assets obtained before a marriage that are not comingled with marital assets

When you and your spouse make the decision to divorce, you are free to decide on matters of property division on your own. However, if you cannot agree on the terms, or are in dispute over certain items, you may need to look to the courts for a fair decision. The attorneys at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP can help advocate for your best interests.

How does the Westchester divorce court divide marital property?

New York courts aim for a fair, but not necessarily equal, distribution of marital property. It's important to note that equitable distribution does not necessarily mean equal distribution, although it often results in a fair and just division of assets and liabilities between spouses.

The New York courts take 13 factors into account when making decisions about equitable distribution of property and assets:

  1. The income and property of each spouse at the time of the marriage, and at the time of the divorce;
  2. The length of the marriage and the age and health of both spouses;
  3. If there are minor children involved, the need of the spouse who has custody of the children to live in the marital residence and to use or own its household contents;
  4. The loss of inheritance and pension rights of each spouse because of the divorce;
  5. The loss of health insurance benefits of each spouse because of the divorce;
  6. Any award of support or maintenance the court will be making;
  7. Whether one spouse made contributions to marital property that the spouse does not have title to – for example, where one spouse helps the other spouse start a business;
  8. The liquid or non-liquid character of all marital property (“liquid” means that the property can easily be converted to cash);
  9. The probable future financial circumstances of each party;
  10. The impossibility or difficulty of determining the value of certain assets, like interests in a business, and whether one spouse should be awarded the business so it can be run without interference by the other spouse;
  11. The tax consequences to each party;
  12. Whether either spouse has wasted or used up any of the marital property while the divorce was ongoing; and
  13. Whether either spouse transferred or disposed of marital property at less than market value, knowing that the divorce would be happening.

In 2021, New York State added an additional factor courts may consider: whether domestic violence was present during a marriage.

The court also has the discretion to take other factors and circumstances into account.

Does a business count as marital property?

Businesses and professional practices are considered property by the court, which means they are eligible for equitable distribution. Realistically, however, it is impractical to “divide” a business. In situations like these, the court typically tries to ascertain a business’s value, and determines a cash distribution based on that value.

The court may award the business to the spouse who operates it day-to-day and award the other spouse more property and assets to make up the difference. This is just one of many possible solutions.

Is marital debt subject to property division in Westchester?

Yes. Marital property also includes marital debt. Examples of marital debt are any debts either spouse accrued during the marriage. This could be anything from a line of credit at Home Depot to a mortgage to financing a family vehicle. Separate debt, on the other hand, stays with the spouse who accrued it. If one spouse has debt from a large purchase before the marriage, it will not count toward the marital debt.

When dividing marital debt, the court considers a variety of factors, including:

  • Amount of the debt
  • Why and how the debt was acquired
  • Which spouse benefited most from the debt
  • Which spouse is most capable of paying off the debt

Our experienced property division attorneys can examine your and your spouse’s financial situation and provide informed guidance on your next steps.

If my spouse committed adultery, am I entitled to more assets?

No, the issues leading to a divorce are not usually affected by any fault grounds. However, if a spouse intentionally and purposefully wastes marital assets, the court may consider that against them

Is my spouse hiding assets?

Finding out if your spouse is hiding assets during a divorce can be a challenging and sensitive process, but it's essential to ensure that the division of property is fair and equitable. Here are some steps you can take to uncover any hidden assets:

  • Collect as much financial information as possible, including bank statements, tax returns, investment account statements, retirement account statements, property deeds, business records, and any other relevant financial documents. Make copies of these documents for your records.
  • Thoroughly review the financial documents you've gathered to understand your family's financial situation. Look for any discrepancies, unusual transactions, or missing assets.
  • Pay attention to your spouse's behavior regarding finances. Look for signs such as sudden changes in spending habits, unexplained withdrawals or transfers of funds, or secretive behavior regarding financial matters.
  • Consider hiring a forensic accountant or financial investigator who specializes in uncovering hidden assets. These professionals have the expertise to analyze financial records and identify any discrepancies or irregularities that may indicate hidden assets.
  • Compare your family's lifestyle and expenses with the reported income and assets. If there are significant disparities between the two, it could indicate that assets are being hidden.
  • During the divorce process, both spouses are typically required to provide full financial disclosures, including income, assets, and debts. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, carefully review the financial disclosures provided and compare them with the financial documents you've gathered.
  • If necessary, your attorney can subpoena financial records from banks, financial institutions, businesses, and other sources to uncover hidden assets.
  • Depositions allow you to question your spouse and other witnesses under oath. Your attorney can use depositions to gather information about your spouse's financial affairs and uncover any hidden assets.
  • Divorce proceedings can be complex and time-consuming, but it's essential to remain diligent in your efforts to uncover hidden assets. Stay organized, keep thorough records, and work closely with your attorney to ensure that all relevant financial information is uncovered.
  • Consult with a qualified divorce attorney who has experience dealing with complex financial matters. At Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, our lawyers can provide guidance and representation throughout the divorce process, including uncovering hidden assets and ensuring that your rights are protected.
Continue Reading Read Less

What Sets Us Apart From The Rest?

Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein is here to help you get the results you need with a team you can trust.


    We are one of the only Manhattan divorce law firms offering all three options for divorce: litigation/negotiation, collaborative law, and mediation - providing custom strategies and solutions for our clients.


    All families and marriages are unique - our attorneys take the time to listen to our clients to fully understand the circumstances of their case. Only then do we advise the best legal option for their goals.


    Divorce is a time of transition. We understand the emotional and financial stress that clients experience during the divorce process – from day one our team ensures that we provide our clients with prompt feedback so that they are updated on their case every step of the way.


    Our attorneys provide frequent expert legal commentary for national media outlets and have been quoted in numerous publications including Fox's Business, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News and many more.

Westchester property division attorneys

At Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP, our divorce attorneys guide clients through the process from start to finish. Property and asset distribution is a complex matter, and we can advocate for your best interests and ensure you are treated fairly. Schedule a consultation today by calling us at (914) 350-5329 or contacting us online. We have offices in White Plains for your convenience.

Ready to Discuss Your Options?

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy